"We know that FurstStaffing has done their homework on each applicant prior to presenting them to us which leads to a more suitable match by the time they enter our door."
-HR Director/ Community Health Clinic
"We know that FurstStaffing has done their homework on each applicant prior to presenting them to us which leads to a more suitable match by the time they enter our door."
Leaders that try too hard to win people over are the ones that end up losing the respect of their employees - especially when it's not genuine. The most memorable leaders know how to naturally make a good first impression. They are mindful of what most employees do and don't expect of them and want to create for them a safe environment that enables engagement. Leadership success is all about people and when leaders forget this fact, they are headed down a path of self-destruction.
First impressions are earned quickly, but it takes time for employees to figure out the impact you are attempting to create in your leadership role. I've seen many leaders attempt to use their power and influence to impress their employees only to find this strategy backfiring because they were too aggressive - rather than taking a more steady approach that invites other ideas and ideals into the fold.
Leadership is not about acting the part, but rather being your most authentic self to serve the organization and advance others, while avoiding the traps of self-promotion along the way. As such, first impressions should never be forced; they are opportunities to reveal who you are and what you represent as a leader.
After being hired to assume a senior executive role at the age of 30, making a first impression was important for me to begin to earn the trust and respect of employees (many of whom were 20+ years my senior). My hope was that the employees would give me a chance to work closely with them to turn around the organization's performance and rebuild their brand's reputation.
Instead of walking directly into my office (the first day of work), I began to greet people at their desks. I spent a good percentage of my time the first month on the job meeting with employees and asking them about their opinions regarding the state of the company, morale of the workplace, and their other concerns and recommendations. This was a company whose employees were loyal and that had never hired a senior executive from the outside. Prior to assuming my role, I obtained a diagram of the building with the seating designations of the employees, along with their job descriptions and personal information they had shared. I genuinely wanted the employees to know that I valued them, cared about their interests and wanted to immediately contribute to their professional goals and objectives. I encouraged them to ask questions, challenge my opinions and established an open-door policy. I didn't want anyone to feel at-risk for speaking up, but rather give everyone an opportunity to showcase their talents, skills-sets and capabilities. This would be a difficult task if they were unclear of my style and approach and my intentions for the business.
You can never go at leadership alone. Making a strong first impression as a leader is about how people initially perceive you, but respect is earned through the consistent actions you take and the decisions you make that tend to the needs of the employees and support the goals and objectives of the business. Without an inspired and focused workforce - enabled to unleash their passionate pursuits of excellence and clear about leadership's expectations and intentions - the business becomes vulnerable, at risk of losing its top-talent, and productivity begins to wane.
As you continue your leadership journey, become more mindful of the first impressions you are leaving behind for your employees, clients, shareholders and the industry that you serve. How does your first impression begin to impact performance, morale, attitude, trust and innovation? What can you do to leave a genuine first impression at a time when employees expect more from their leaders?
Here are 14 things every leader should consider if they want to make an unforgettable first impression. Read them carefully and ask yourself which ones you are doing and which ones you still need to introduce.
1. Warm Greeting
Being nice, attentive and making good eye contact is what is expected. A leader's ability to find areas of commonality with their employees by telling stories that humanize their persona increases their likeability factor. Employees want to know that you relate to them, regardless of your hierarchy or rank.
Employees respect a leader that projects strong executive presence. Beyond presence, they want body language that is non-threatening and a polished demeanor (everything from manner of speaking and actions towards others to dress code and grooming). When you are respectful towards others, employees are proud to be associated with you - whether in front of clients or family and friends.
On the other hand, leaders with an ostentatious attitude will be quick to lose the support of those they are attempting to lead.
3. Friendly; Engaging
Not every leader comes across as friendly. In fact, they may be so focused on work to the point of social awkwardness. Leaders that genuinely care about their employees and make an effort to engage with them - starting with a powerful first impression - will go a long way.
4. Represents Their Authentic Self
Leaders are not always their authentic selves; this is why many are challenged to develop and live their personal brand as a leader. Being authentic is about consistently representing who you are and what you stand for - in everything you do and how you do it. Leaders must be courageous enough to let others inside their domain, where they can help elevate the talent around them and accelerate the implementation of the business strategy. When leaders can be themselves, others feel free to do the same without the pretense of asking permission.
5. Good Listeners
The best leaders listen to their employees because they want to learn about them and from them. Employees that genuinely believe that their opinions and points of view matter to their leaders are the ones that fully engage. Leaders that roll-up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and collaborate are the ones that value the importance of listening and translate this genuine effort into an ROI opportunity - for both the relationship and the business.
6. Are Interested In What Matters to Employees
Beyond listening, leaders that encourage employees to ask them the tough questions will quickly begin to build camaraderie and trust with their employees. Open-minded leaders that are interested in what matters to employees and make them feel safe to express the truth are the ones that build loyalty with their workforce. These types of leaders hold town hall meetings and consistently encourage a democratic setting where employees can share their perspectives regarding the direction of the organization and its future.
7. Embrace Differences and Acknowledge Accomplishments
Leaders that embrace individuality and differences in thought and know how to strategically apply them to stimulate growth, innovation and new opportunities for the business are widely accepted by their employees (especially when you consider the growing diversity in the workplace). These leaders recognize individual achievement and accomplishments and are creative at finding new ways to enable the full potential of the organization, its business strategy and talent pool.
This may seem obvious, but never assume that the leader knows the dynamics of the business as much as you might think. Respected leaders are students of the business, constantly studying and looking for ways to improve, adapt and course correct to market conditions. Many leaders are just figureheads but not those that make an unforgettable first impression. They are the ones that will touch the business just as much as they lead it. They will keep everyone on their toes to make the organization and its people stronger.
Accessibility to leaders has become one of the most important things that employees want to see from their leaders. Most leaders hide behind the politics, and are too calculated with their accessibility (what a waste of time!) Leaders that are accessible inspire their employees and cultivate an entrepreneurial attitude that helps the organization fuel its competitive advantage. This was the case with the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, featured in a recent USA Today article, who made a positive first impression throughout the organization when taking over for Steve Ballmer in February.
10. Sense of Humor
A leader that brings a positive uplifting attitude fuels excitement in the workplace. When a leader has a sense of humor, it balances the intensity that exists in a high-performance organization. Leaders that can convert complexity into simplicity with a little humor take the edge off and make work fun again.
Leaders leave a positive first impression when they don't flaunt their power and influence. By sharing their personal stories of their own career trials and tribulations they inspire hope in their employees, which in turn encourages them to unleash their passionate pursuits of endless possibilities. Vulnerability is a powerful driver of employee engagement that most leaders are too proud to reveal. We must not forget that everyone has problems, they are just packaged differently.
A leader with a consistent style and approach towards others and the business is a mature leader who knows how to work well with others and is effective under pressure and in the trenches. A consistent leader is also the one that knows herself well enough to invest in the development of her personal brand - and has grown confident enough to live it every day. Consistency is important in a leader's ability to earn the trust and loyalty of others. Conversely, a lack of consistency is one reason leaders lose the respect and trust of their employees.
13. Lead By Example
Leading by example is a surefire way to make good on an unforgettable first impression. Too many leaders observe the game, rather than activate themselves into it. When you lead by example, you set the tone for the organization and employees will respect you more for your ability and the energy you bring - rather than just your job title. My personal motto: never advise others of something that you have never done before yourself.
Leaders today must be motivational and inspire hope. With the uncertainty that seems to never go away, employees need a leader that will help get them past the finish line. Let's face it, the workplace has become a more intense, competitive place where we are all required to do more with less. Employees enjoy working with leaders that know how to activate the best in everyone and will go above the call of duty for them.
What will make these 14 unforgettable first impressions even more powerful is your ability to continue applying them - consistently and continuously - throughout the first six months of your leadership journey and beyond. If you have already been in your leadership role for some time, you may have to course correct and start over if you want to positively change your impact and influence. While technically you cannot leave a first impression anymore. you will be taking an impressive stance to improve your leadership approach for the betterment of a healthier whole.
Link to original article HERE
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You may not think you have enough time to make progress in your job search. But if you've got five minutes, you can move your search forward with any of these 11 actions:
1. Replace the objective statement
"Replace the objective statement at the top of your résumé with a branded headline that conveys your value to the reader, i.e., 'Registered nurse committed to providing safe, effective patient care," says Laurie Berenson, certified master résumé writer and founder of Sterling Career Concepts LLC.
2. Connect with your network
"Connect with one person from your network with whom you haven't spoken in at least one month," Berenson advises. "Pick up the phone, too -- don't rely on emailing."
3. Update your social profiles
"Update your LinkedIn profile content for two reasons: First, to keep it current, but also so the activity puts your name in front of every one of your contacts as a network update on their home page," Berenson says.
4. Conduct research
"A lack of basic understanding of the agency's mission and/or philosophy shows a lack of preparation and interest," says Natasha R.W. Eldridge, founding partner and director of human resources for Eldridge Overton Educational Programs.
5. Make your voicemail more professional
"Remove ringtones and silly voicemail recordings from voicemail," Eldridge says. "I am not going to leave a professional message on the voicemail of an applicant that has music blasting as a ringtone. It shows me that job searching is not a priority."
6. Prepare for the interview
"Preparation is everything," says Bruce A. Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing Ltd. "Make up a list of the questions you do not want to be asked; then answer them in the company of a friend. Tell the friend you want honest feedback to make certain that you are giving confident, credible and professional-sounding answers. Once you are comfortable with the difficult questions ... you will be more than prepared for the 'easy' questions."
7. Join industry associations
"Contact and join a local professional association," says Raina Kropp, HR talent partner at Vistage International. "Sometimes you can get student or in-transition discounts. Don't be afraid to ask. These are the people you want to network with since they could be your future manager or colleague."
8. Clean up your résumé
"Remove irrelevant experience from your résumé," says Katie Niekrash, senior managing director of the recruitment firm Execu-Search. "While the summer after college that you spent scooping ice cream may have been the best [time] of your life, it doesn't really apply to a career in finance. Pick and choose your relevant experience, and tailor it to the job you're applying for."
9. Get your references ready
"Prepare your list of references before the interview," Niekrash says. "Once you have confirmed your two to three references, create a simple document that lists all the relevant information the employer would need to know about them -- name, title, contact info., etc. Bring this document with you to all your interviews, so this way, if the hiring manager asks you for your references, you'll be prepared and look organized."
10. Stay organized
"Create a master list for all the jobs you apply for. The key to a successful job search is organization," Niekrash says. "To do this, create an Excel spreadsheet that contains a row for each job you apply for, and include these columns: the date you applied; the company; the contact; the position for which you applied; how you applied; if, when and with whom you interviewed; when you should next follow up or what your next steps are; and the current status of the application. Creating this document should only take a few minutes, and updating it as you proactively apply for jobs should only take a few seconds."
11. Proofread your materials
"Read your LinkedIn profile, résumé and other job-search materials backward," says Karen Southall Watts, business consultant, coach and speaker. "That's right -- read from the last sentence to the first sentence. This editing technique forces you to examine each sentence separately and keeps you from skipping over mistakes because you know what you meant to say next. By reading your materials backward, you can avoid those common typos and errors that plague all of us when our brains go faster than our typing skills."
Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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Interviews are often stressful, but being prepared never hurts. Below, eight hiring experts share the questions they love to ask in interviews.
Who do you most admire and why?
- Michael Yormark, President, the Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment
"The answer reveals a lot about who the candidate is, who she aspires to be, and whether she has the DNA to be part of a company's culture. It will also force the interviewee to make a decision between brutal honesty and telling the interviewer what she believes he wants to hear."
In your last employee review, what areas for improvement were identified?
- Andrew Shapin, Chief Executive Officer, Long Tall Sally
"When candidates are honest, it illuminates self-awareness and potential weaknesses. It also helps ensure I get the best out of them. The response can easily be verified with the previous employer. I also ask what progress has been made."
Why are you here?
- Andrew Alexander, President, Red Roof Inn
"I always ask this the minute a prospect sits down. After the initial shock wears off, I hope to hear a passion for the hospitality industry and a deep respect for customer service. I find this to be a tremendously effective way to gauge whether the person is interested in working for us or simply seeking a job."
So you're a Yankees fan. If you were their owner, how would you make the team better?
- Bonnie Zaben, Chief Operating Officer, AC Lion Recruiting
"I ask the applicant about their hobbies, and then we do role-play. I want to see how they think quickly and compose coherent presentations. Are they recommending specific player changes? Can they quote stats to back up a position? Can they present a cogent argument in five minutes without dead air? You'd be surprised."
What is your passion?
- Hilarie Bass, Co-president, Greenberg Traurig
"Passion leads to success. I have turned folks away who could not frankly answer this. The people attracted to us must show absolute commitment to the practice of law and solving clients' problems."
You're a project manager? Tell me about a time you had a delayed project.
- Susy Dunn, Vice President of People, Jama Software
"I always have a candidate provide a past situation similar to what they will encounter in a new position. The answer provides huge insights into their level of critical thinking, adaptability, awareness of their impact, and creativity."
Describe an environment in which you would not thrive.
- Larry Drebes, CEO, Janrain
"The candidate is less likely to have a scripted answer, and you see some on-the-spot introspection. You can learn a remarkable amount about personality, as well as cultural and organizational impact, which is hugely important. If this question is asked early in an interview, it often yields color for a richer conversation."
If you could do anything, what would be your ideal job?
- Liz Bingham, Partner, Ernst & Young
"A resume can tell you about their previous experience, but this question helps indicate the individual's passions and strengths and whether they're well-matched to the job. From aspirations in politics, to cafe ownership, to entrepreneurship, the answers are revealing."
Image: John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images
This article originally published at Businessweek here
Winter has arrived, and with the change of seasons comes the threat of nasty weather. Before winter strikes in full force, make sure you and your car are ready. As you head to the roads during this busy holiday travel season, following our tips can help ensure you get to your destination and back home safely.
Keeping up with car maintenance year-round is important, but it carries added significance in the winter when being stranded can be inconvenient due to holiday travel plans, as well as being downright unpleasant waiting at the side of the road. As always, try to time your routine maintenance ahead of long-distance travel. Putting off service today can turn into an expensive problem down the road.
As winter driving safety is so impacted by traction, it is key to make sure your tires are in top shape. Check tire pressure monthly, topping off as necessary. (Cold winter temperatures can lower tire pressure.) Inspect your tires for tread depth, an important factor in wet and snow traction. The tread should be at least 1/8 an inch, easily gauged by using a quarter and measuring from the coin's edge to Washington's head. Look for uneven tread wear, which typically indicates poor wheel alignment or worn suspension components. If you do invest in new tires, be sure to have your vehicle's alignment and suspension checked before having the tires mounted to avoid premature wear.
With the car prepped for travel, keep these 10 tips in mind:
Clear off the snow and ice before driving. If snow has fallen since your car was parked, take the time to thoroughly brush it off the vehicle--including the roof--and scrape any ice from the windows. "Peephole driving" through a small, cleared spot on your windshield reduces your visibility and is quite dangerous.
Accelerate slowly to reduce wheel spin. If starting from a standstill on slick snow or ice, start in second gear if you have a manual transmission or gear-selectable automatic so the vehicle is less likely to spin the tires.
Reduce your speed and drive smoothly. In slippery conditions, tires lose their grip more easily, affecting all aspects of your driving: braking, turning, and accelerating. Keeping the speeds down will give you more time to react to slippage or a possible collision, and it will lessen the damage should things go wrong.
Allow longer braking distances. Plan on starting your braking sooner than you normally would in dry conditions to give yourself extra room, and use more gentle pressure on the brake pedal.
Don't lock your wheels when braking. Locked wheels can make the vehicle slide or skid. If you have an older vehicle without an antilock braking system (ABS), you may need to gently apply the brakes repeatedly in a pulsing motion to avoid having them lock up the wheels. If your vehicle has ABS, simply depress the brake pedal firmly and hold it down. The shuddering sounds and pedal feeling is expected (don't lift off the brake); the system is doing its job.
Perform one action at a time when accelerating, braking, and turning. Asking a vehicle to do two things at once--such as braking and turning, or accelerating and turning--can reduce your control. When taking a turn on a slippery surface, for instance, slowly apply the brakes while the vehicle is going straight.
Avoid sudden actions when cornering. A sudden maneuver--such as hard braking, a quick turn of the steering wheel, sudden acceleration, or shifting a manual transmission --can upset a vehicle's dynamics when it's taking a turn. Rapidly transferring the weight from one end or corner to another can throw a car off balance. In slick conditions, this can cause it to more easily go out of control.
Be ready to correct for a slide. Should the rear end of the vehicle begin to slide during a turn, gently let off on the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. This will help straighten it out. Electronic stability control will also help keep control in a slide situation. But remember, safety systems may bend the laws of physics, but they can't overcome stupid.
Don't let four- or all-wheel drive give you a false sense of security. 4WD and AWD systems only provide extra traction when accelerating. They provide no advantage when braking or cornering.
Be extra wary of other motorists. They may not be driving as cautiously as you, so leave extra space, avoid distractions, and be predictable, signaling clearly ahead of any turns or lane changes.
For more tips on winter driving, see our guide.
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Copyright © 2005-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.
Technology has made firing off multiple job applications easier - but as well as more opportunities for success, there is also more chance of rejection.
We wanted to know how experts suggest we turn rejection around so that it helps a job search be successful in the long run.
"Don't take rejection personally," says Los Angeles-based business coach Joanna Garzilli.
"Often there are a number of factors at play including timing, circumstances, office politics and budgets. Just because someone says no today doesn't mean it's a no in the future."
And About.com job-search expert Alison Doyle says: "The best way to deal with rejection is to consider why you were rejected, and then move on."
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Alison Doyle Spending time volunteering will help you feel better about yourself"
But analysing rejection is easier said than done. It may be tempting to follow up a rejection email or letter by asking an employer how they reached their decision, but you won't always get a response.
"Many employers won't disclose any information to applicants they rejected, because they are concerned about legal issues like discrimination," says Ms Doyle.
"That said, it can't hurt to ask, and if you do get feedback, consider how you can use it enhance your chances in the future."
If you can't get feedback, you should spend some time asking yourself what might have gone wrong.
Ms Garzilli says: "Do a self evaluation on what went well, what didn't and why? This will help you to be well prepared for the next job interview."
In the relatively anonymous world of online job searching, where the number of applications and rejections can mount up very quickly, it it easy to lose focus on the ultimate goal.
Ms Doyle says: "Do consider how effective your job search is - or isn't.
"Are you applying for the right jobs? Jobs that are a strong match for your qualifications? If not, you are wasting time because there are so many applicants for each position, only the most qualified candidates will be considered."
'Disappointing, disillusioning and discouraging'
Since May, Sheri Bennett, from California, has applied for more than 200 jobs online, but she is still looking for work.
"I have not had many call-backs at all, and a lot of the companies don't even send a courtesy email that you've not been selected," she says.
"Not even an acknowledgment, not even a thank you for applying. Nothing."
The former teacher says it can be very "disappointing" and "disillusioning."
Ms Bennett, who says she is "discouraged" at times, responds by simply "trying harder."
Dan Sparks, vice-president of sales at Hire Live, which stages career fairs, says: "There are very qualified candidates out there and sometimes it just takes a little time to find that right position. says .
"Don't just talk to one company and say, 'That was it, that's all I need to do, I already got that job.' Keep an open mind, don't be disappointed if they say no or don't be disappointed if they move forward with somebody else."
how to get a job now branding
Being out of work for a prolonged period takes its toll emotionally. Relationships suffer, and unsuccessful candidates can find themselves on a downwards spiral into depression.
Ms Doyle says: "One way many job seekers have dealt with lethargy or depression is to not focus all their time and energy on job seeking.
"Spending time volunteering, for example, will help you feel better about yourself. It may also help you make valuable contacts who can help your job search."
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By Samantha Jeffreys -
ROCKFORD (WREX) -
A new local job training program for manufacturing is looking for applicants.
The Accelerating Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) grant covers Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson, and DeKalb counties. It's open to 133 participants and integrates classroom work with lab-based and work-based training.
The grant focuses on machine operators, industrial machinery service and repair, computer-controlled machine tool operators, welding, A & P mechanics, and assemblers. Adults who meet income guidelines and unemployed workers who were laid off from previous positions are eligible. More information on eligibility is available on the applications.
For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength-tenacity, "grit", optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to "fail up."
However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don't do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I'd also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.
1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don't see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they've been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as "Oh, well." Or perhaps simply, "Next!"
2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.
3. Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest "fear", if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.
4. Waste Energy on Things They Can't Control. Mentally strong people don't complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.
5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.
6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.
7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences-but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the "glory days" gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.
8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It's when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we've gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.
9. Resent Other People's Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people's success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don't become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.
10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every "failure" can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.
11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don't depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.
12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.
13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it's a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are "in it for the long haul". They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have "staying power." And they understand that genuine changes take time.
Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of?
With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?
Just be Yourself
"Just be yourself, you'll do fine". Ever heard this well-meaning advice from mentors? I found myself giving a young mentee of mine this advice recently in an e-mail to get her pumped up for an interview for a job she really wanted. Just after I'd hit "send" I thought, well that could be disastrous advice. Here's why. This young woman is painfully shy. In an interview situation her body language says "why am I even here?" I know this because we had done some practice interviews together. So, really I should have told her, "Don't be yourself. Be the interview candidate that gets the job!"
This brings me to my current perspective on "just be yourself". It's an over-used cliché that those of us who mentor others grandiosely repeat without understanding the unintended consequences. Most of us don't really know what being ourselves really means. Who we are is complex and most of our behaviors are driven from our unconscious. Here are five ways being ourselves can be dangerous:
1) Just be myself (forget what's appropriate) - Yes well, I may have dressed inappropriately for that job interview, but I wanted them to see the "real" me - the identity I want to project as a cool, hip dude. The real you is not the identity you want to project. The real you knows what they want and are willing to flex to what's appropriate in a situation.
2) Just be my (insert emotion here) self - If I'm angry or frustrated, being authentic is letting all of that emotion hang out. It gives me license to show up and blow up. The real you isn't whatever emotion you happen to be having. The real you acknowledges the emotion you're having and discerns what's appropriate.
3) Just be myself (and remain in my comfort zone) - Here's one issue some of my mentees talk about. "I would like to get ahead, but I hate talking about myself. That's just not me!" So let me just stay in my comfort zone. Or "I know I need to build strategic relationships to move ahead, but it feels so fake to do that". The real you doesn't let "that's just me!" stand in the way of goals important to you.
4) Just be my (insert opinion here) self - I know I need to work with Mary over in Accounting. But, I just don't like her. Trying to be friendly with her would be so fake. That's just not me. We take strong stances on our opinions (Republican or Democrat, Catholic or Protestant, I like Mary or Not), and let the stances define and limit us. The real you can find the right attitude or perspective that best serves you in a given situation.
5) Just be myself (and true to my values) - This is a tough one! So many leadership gurus tell us that being ourselves is being true to our values. However, so many tough decisions cause many of the values we have to collide. Abraham Lincoln was open to coercing others and indirectly offering payoffs to get the 13th amendment (abolishing slavery) passed. Yes that would be "Honest Abe". The real you understands your personal values, wrestles through tough choices, to pursue what's in the greater good.
We often form our identity around our beliefs, our status, our work, our values, our roles, or even the labels around gender, religion, football team, nationality, etc. Yes, these labels do define who we are, until they no longer serve us. Then the "real me" emerges as the silent witness to the labels and empowers us to choose powerfully and be what serves us and the greater good in that moment.
So the next time I proudly tell myself or others to "just be yourself" I will need to pause. How about you? Please comment and share your thoughts on the topic.
Connect with me on Twitter @hennainam and and get valuable advice on leadership at www.transformleaders.tv
Pictured: Andrew M with Tanya Weinand, Account Manager @ FurstStaffing in Stockton.
In October 2013, Andrew was placed in a Quality Assurance position @ Berner Foods. Andrew was hired by Berner in January 2013 and is still loving his job! Andrew's name was drawn for the September $50 Gas Card. His name was entered because Andrew has referred MANY friends and family to FurstStaffing. We LOVE having the right people on the bus!!!
Congratulations, Andrew!!! And THANK YOU!!!
Congratulations to Jonathan!! Jonathan was FurstStaffing's Stockton office $50 Gas Card winner (August) for submitting a referral who started working or being referred to Furst and working. We LOVE referrals!
Jonathan (Winner!) and Marci (FurstStaffing)